To my shy child

One of the most amazing things about being your mom is watching your personality develop and getting to know you as your own person. Even though you’re just a baby still, it’s clear that you are shy, observant, cautious, and sensitive. You’re also a goofball, you love to laugh and be tossed in the air and tickled and mauled by those you trust. But you require trust. You’ve never been the kind of baby who will give away free hugs to strangers, or who will jump right into playing with other babies. You prefer to sit back and watch for a while, deciding in your own time if you feel comfortable entering a situation. 
I love this about you (and not just because it reminds me of myself as a child). Unfortunately, though, some people think that a child needs to come out of their shell in order to “succeed,” and that being shy means you lack independence and confidence. I disagree with those ideas. I know you are a happy, smart, and kind baby who is testing her limits (and mine) in your own way, in your own time. I want you to know that I respect who you are, just the way you are. 

I love that you observe and think first and act later. I think it shows that you will be a conscientious person, aware of how others are feeling and able to respond in a thoughtful way that will bring comfort and love to others. I also think that this trait shows how smart you are. You are so curious about the world around you, and you seem to analyze new situations and environments in your mind first, before exploring physically. 

You’re also cautious. Cautious around new people, animals, and even new toys. Obviously as your parent I appreciate this trait as it’s just a little easier for me to keep you safe! I hate to see you frightened, but when you warm up to something after being afraid before, it’s so much more rewarding. You have to be won over before giving your love to someone/something new. 

My favourite trait that I see developing in you is your sensitivity. I will always remember the time you started crying when one cat attacked the other cat. You also cry when someone makes a painful grimace (like when you bite me while nursing or scratch my eyeball with your sharp baby nails!) You are sensitive to the wellbeing of others and I think it’s amazing that you have shown signs of empathy so early. 

You are such a beautiful soul and I am so lucky to be able to get to know you as you continue to grow and develop over the years to come. I love you more than life itself. 

The Lullaby as a family heirloom

I’m talking about your every day, run of the mill, possibly out of tune (but it doesn’t matter) lullabies. They don’t have to be anything fancy, and they may be the same songs that many other families sang and cherished as their own. But there is something very meaningful and sentimental about these songs. I love the way a lullaby can be passed down from generation to generation like a family heirloom. 

I have very strong memories and a subconscious emotional reaction to the lullaby my mom sang me when I was a baby/young child, and I sing the same lullaby to my own baby now at every nap time and every bedtime. 

My dad sang to me too, but he sang a lot of different songs, and he played his guitar for me, and he played relaxing CDs for me. I have emotional reactions to some of the songs he used to sing as well, but they were something different than The Lullaby that my mom used. From a psychological perspective, a Lullaby is used (intentionally or unintentionally) to condition a sleep response. It is used repeatedly at sleep times to cue that it’s time to sleep, and eventually hearing that particular lullaby will make the child feel sleepy. I have to think that such a deeply conditioned song would stick around in one’s memory and continue to evoke an emotional response later in life. Interestingly, it may also trigger a sleep response in me – I yawn my way through it when I sing to my baby the lullaby my mom sang to me as a baby. 

Avery now reacts instantly to our lullaby. She relaxes, closes her eyes, and her arms stop flailing as she rests her hand on me while she nurses to sleep. 

In case anyone’s wondering, my family heirloom lullaby is All The Pretty Horses. Side note: old lullabies like that tend to have subtly disturbing lyrics. A quick Wikipedia search of this lullaby suggests that the song was originally sung by Africans slaves who couldn’t care for their babies because they had to care for their masters, and some versions make reference to buzzards pecking out their eyes. We don’t sing that verse…. 

What lullaby has a special place in your memory? Do you have a family heirloom lullaby? 

I’ve upgraded my blog, kind of by accident.

I’d been going back and forth on the future plans for my blog – to expand it and make it fancy schmancy and try to attract all kinds of alternative families to my little hub of inclusive ramblings, or to keep it as my private and quiet little corner of the internet. My wife and I talked about buying a domain name and making a full-fledged website for alternative families (still on our radar as a long-term goal), and we were just hanging out in limbo not sure whether it made sense to spend the money to make it happen.

In the meantime, I decided to play around with changing my URL in the free WordPress account and I messed everything up. I appeared to have lost all my content. I panicked for a few minutes, watched some YouTube videos on how to fix it, and got more panicked (it’s crazy that I want to start a real deal website when I am this technically UNsavy). Eventually, faced with a lot of forum reading and frustration and likely failure, I purchased a WordPress plan so I could get one-on-one help.  They solved my problem and calmed me down in the blink of an eye, and now I have a premium plan with my own domain name,

So I figured I better make the most of this new address and make a logo and a twitter page. If you want to follow me on twitter, you’ll find me @momwithawife.

Side note, I have a private Instagram account that is accessed by people in my real life and I don’t mention the blog on it, but I do welcome blogging friends to follow me on it.

Eventually I’ll make more changes and maybe, one day, way down the road, expand to that full-fledged website, but for now I’m comfortable in my snug little place in the blogosphere, with a new name and a social media presence.